First, let me say that not all hosting partners are equal. If you are in need of speed and power and support, your options are limited to Rackspace and Media Temple. I’m not paid to tell you this, it’s just the truth. Choosing the right website hosting is not an easy task.
If you want solid support, decent pricing and a ton of flexibility, DreamHost gets the job done. I was a customer for a long time, but eventually moved to GoDaddy for some of my sites due to the value offered there.
If you want solid value but willing to put up with a few nuances, GoDaddy has some pretty decent options. Be careful though, they start you off cheap and then next year, surprise! Their support is very responsive, but they are limited in their ability to get the job done, sometimes. Find the right person on the other end of the phone and you’re golden.
Ok, so now that we’ve plugged some companies, let’s talk about the different packages they offer and why you should choose one or the other.
First, there’s old fashioned shared hosting with cPanel. This will work for most that are just getting started. You can always move and upgrade later.
Next, there’s managed WordPress which is also shared hosting but the hosting provider handles much of the work for you. This includes launching new sites, moving them, upgrades, plugins, security and backup. For me, this is NOT an option. I need to manage these things myself.
Then, there’s Virtual Private Servers. While they are pseudo-shared in terms of hardware and bandwidth, the “virtual” machine that is created to host your website works much like a dedicated server. You get your own RAM and disk space on a shared server or farm of servers. You can usually add RAM and disk space as needed and you can reboot your virtual server, should you ever need to. I like to start here.
Finally, there’s dedicated servers and that’s about all you need to know. Pick a configuration and off you go. Need more RAM? Upgrade and they’ll pop some more in for you on demand. Or, you may have to move to a bigger box. Dedicated servers can also come in farms with failover or at least RAID (multiple disks that replicate data).
Linux or Windows?
I’m not sure we need to have this discussion as almost all hosting is done on Linux today. Generally a Windows hosting service is for a very specific purpose. I’d choose Linux.
Finally, who will build it?
Now that you’ve made your choice for hosting, give us a call. We’ll build you a site that drives visitors and is viewable on any device. We specialize in eCommerce and Membership Subscription sites.